HE first raised complaints about "disgusting" school dinners when he was a pupil at Beath High School just over four years ago.

Now a local councillor, Bailey-Lee Robb has been told by current students that the quality of food served by Fife Council is still poor.

And he's urging them to complain to the Scottish Government about the fare that's being dished out, the options on offer and how much it's costing them.

At the Cowdenbeath area committee Cllr Robb explained: "I had the absolute pleasure of being invited along to Beath High by four pupils who have followed in my footsteps, so to speak, and have raised concerns directly about school meals at Beath.

Central Fife Times: Now a councillor for Cowdenbeath, Bailey-Lee Robb has been raising concerns about school dinners since he was a pupil at Beath High in 2019.Now a councillor for Cowdenbeath, Bailey-Lee Robb has been raising concerns about school dinners since he was a pupil at Beath High in 2019. (Image: Newsquest)

"It's clear that since this was initially brought to the agenda in 2019, and has been brought up regularly since, that there's not been an improvement in the eyes of the pupils."

Earlier this year councillors called for bigger portion sizes after a survey of Beath and Lochgelly high school pupils found that 60 per cent of those who ate school lunches went home hungry.

As a pupil and Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, he had previously highlighted the complaints of other students who had slammed school meals as "inedible" and "disgusting".

This week Cllr Robb said: "It's the exact same issues that I raised in a previous role in 2019.

"Some on the surface are policy issues and after a lengthy discussion with the pupils they understand the policy constraints.

"I've advised the pupils I've written to the public health minister (Jenni Minto) to seek a meeting, along with the pupils, so their views and voices are heard at the heart of government because, ultimately, it's the minister that decides the regulations."

He said that another part of the problem was how Fife Council applied the policy on school meals.

The SNP councillor continued: "When I was at school four years ago you could go and get a baguette and select fillings for example.

"That's now gone, you can't do that.

"I remember very early on in papers to this committee we were advised there would be a salad bar approach that would cater for all preferences and allergies.

"That has not actually happened in practice.

"Other issues are around pricing. The pupils are feeling the cost of living, absolutely, some pupils are on free means but some aren't.

"When I provided them with a copy of the Tayside menu they were able to quickly draw comparisons that things are cheaper in Tayside but more expensive in Fife for the exact same things."

Cllr Robb said the pupils were also unhappy with the cash-only payment.

He said: "You can walk into any shop or business in the country and you have the option of paying by cash or card, or mostly card. Fife Council doesn't allow you to pay by card in your school.

"If I did a quick survey of Beath High pupils, particularly senior pupils, I would imagine high levels, probably in the 90 per cents, would have access to a bank card but if you do the same for cash quite a lot of them probably don't carry cash on a daily basis.

"It's a multitude of issues."

The problems have been raised on a number of occasions and a school meals progress report is due to come before the committee in February.

Cllr Robb said: "Hopefully we can invite along the four pupils and the depute headteacher to speak to their experience of school meals before we have the report from the head of facilities, Tariq Ditta."

Committee convener, Cllr Alex Campbell, said: "I'm more than happy to accept the request."